Chris Kendrick (@CKendrick86)
NASHUA, N.H. – The Elms College women's soccer team completed their first unbeaten season in conference play since 2006 with a 5-0 victory over host Daniel Webster College in a New England Collegiate Conference (NECC) match at Eagle Field Wednesday afternoon. With the win, the Blazers improve to 15-3-1 on the season, and 9-0 in the NECC, while Daniel Webster wraps up their season with a 1-7-1 mark in league play, and 1-13-1 overall.
The Blazers jumped on the Eagles early as senior Kathleen Tuechler (Farmingdale, N.Y.) took pass from junior Jackie Soucia (Belchertown, Mass.) and curled a left-footed shot off the upper corner post and into the net to give Elms the 1-0 advantage in the third minute of play.
In the 29th minute of action, the Blazers drew a foul inside Eagle territory, resulting in a free kick. On the ensuing attempt, Soucia bent the free ball past the reach of DWC sophomore goalkeeper Stephanie Evans (Washington, Iowa) to push the lead to 2-0. With 6:55 remaining in the first half, Elms sophomore Gigi Thibault (South Hadley, Mass.) knocked home a corner kick served up by classmate Danielle Asklar (Berlin, Conn.) to extend the Blazers cushion to 3-0 heading into halftime.
Just over five minutes into the second frame, junior Brie Voight (Springfield, Mass.) slotted a pass through the Eagle defense to the foot of junior Angelina Estrada (Springfield, Mass.), who delivered the breakaway finish past Evans to make it 4-0. The Blazer dealt their final strike in the 67th minute as senior Rachel Connell (Easthampton, Mass.) fought for a rebound and tucked a shot into the back of the net, sealing the 5-0 victory.
The Blazers dominated the shot column, 34-1, and corner kicks, 12-1, during the contest. Elms freshman Rebecca Molin (West Hartford, Conn.) pushed her single-season shutout record to 13, stopping the lone shot she faced, while Evans made a match-high 19 saves for the Eagles.
"It's a major accomplishment to finish the regular season undefeated in conference play," said Elms Head Coach Sean Milbier. "It kind of settled in during the bus ride back that we went 9-0 in conference and are the top seed in the championship tournament, but the job is not done and we still have a lot of work to do. It's great that we get to play at home during the tournament, we love Leary Field, we always have the energy here, we know how to prepare here, so it's big for us to be hosting. Every team is different in the postseason, so we'll train hard and game plan for [Mitchell], but we know we'll have our hands full."
With the win, the Blazers earn the top seed in the NECC Championship Tournament and will face eight-seed Mitchell College in the Quarterfinals Saturday afternoon. The Eagles played their final game in program history.